Musings of a Museum Fanatic: September 2019


6 Things to Simplify Immediately

With so much easy technology in our lives right now you'd think everything would be so simple. That is so far from how things are for most of us it's not even funny. If anything things have gotten so much more convoluted and complicated.  I know focusing on simplifying is on the top of my list and I'm actively working towards making life less stressed and more simple. Here are 6 things I've found that we can all simplify immediately and have great results.


The older I get the more time I try to save myself in the morning. I hate wasting time in the morning standing in front of the closet. You get all stressed out trying to pick out the right top to go with the right pants. Then you realize that the pants are actually too small now and you have to start over.

By purging your closet and buying clothes mindfully you can really simplify this part of your life. I mean really we probably only wear like 1/3 of what we own anyways right? No sense having an entire closet of clothes if we’re just going to wear some of them. I’ve read lots of articles about people like Steve Jobs who have a “uniform” that they wear so they don’t have to waste time figuring out what to wear. I’m just saying the guy started a billion dollar company. I shared in July some other tips that help you get dressed quickly in the morning too.


Slogging through emails is one of the most time consuming, stressful and annoying parts of most peoples’ day. I know it is for me. I have four different email addresses! My original personal one with my maiden name, one I made with my married name, blog one and Pampered Chef one. That’s a little excessive right?

I’ve been actively working to get to the point of deleting my maiden name email address. This has involved unsubscribing to tons of various promotional emails and changing the email in so many places to my married name one. I’ve actually been unsubscribing to emails on all my email addresses. It can definitely be a time consuming task. Sometimes I use Unroll.Me to help it go faster. In the morning I’ll look at maybe two or three emails that came in and ask myself if I’ve actually read these emails the last 4 or 5 times they came through. If not clearly I don’t care about this company anymore so I can unsubscribe.

Social media

This is super tough for me. I’ve caught myself during the day many times lately just hopping from one social media to the other in boredom realizing that I just spent 20 minutes on stupid and non-productive things. I know that this is something that is tough for a lot of us especially if you blog or have a business. You can find yourself on social media all the time promoting those things but think about if you’re actually using your time wisely and getting a return on your investment.

Social media is still something I’m attempting to figure out how to simplify. I know that throughout the years I’ve followed way too many companies, people and brands that I just scroll past and don’t even care about the content they’re posting. So I’ve been working to unfollow those. Other than that I’m still stumped on how to simplify posting and commenting. Are you a master of the simplified social media? I’d love to hear what you do!


Before Kevin and I started Financial Peace University earlier this spring taking care of our finances seemed like this overwhelming mountain we had to climb. Neither of us are mountain climbers so we weren’t any good at it. We learned that it’s really simple to take control of your finances with budgeting. Now I realize by doing a budget you're not going take care of things like how to allocate your retirement and such but that budget can really simplify a lot.

Since we've been budgeting for several months now we haven't been worrying about if we're spending too much and if we're putting enough into our retirements. We see where our money is going and what it's doing. Granted there are changes throughout the month but overall I've felt so much calmer since we've simplified with our budget. Check out apps like Mint or EveryDollar for easy budgeting tools or you can even set up a budget in Excel.


These days it feels like everyone has a jam packed calendar at work and at home. There are two areas of the calendar I want you to focus on. First is making sure that everything you want to put on your schedule gets written down in your calendar. If you’re a paper person make sure to have your calendar with you so you’re able to note or if you’re a digital calendar person take 30 seconds and put it in there immediately. I used to be a paper calendar person but I love the reminders I get when I put things in Google Calendar. There is also something to be said for being able to share calendars as well. It’s great to know what my brother and Bethany are up to if I need to get a hold of them.

While most of us fill our calendars with things we like and enjoy there is plenty on our calendars that annoy and stress us out. Go Mari Kondo on your schedule and ask if it brings you joy. I’m not saying delete that doctor appointment because it doesn’t bring you joy. Does anyone really like going to the doctor? Not really. I’m talking about the dinner invite from that person who don’t even really like hanging out with anymore. Not feeling that book club you started a couple of months ago? These time sucks aren’t worth it so simplify your schedule and get rid of them. In a nice manner of course!

Meal time

I really enjoy cooking. It’s one of my favorite things to do but there are so many times when it comes time to decide on a meal that Kevin and I just don’t want to do it. We can’t believe we have to figure out what to eat again. There is no agreeing on a meal, nothing is thawed and so on. The same goes for my lunches, I’m running around right before I have to leave for work like a chicken with my head cut off figuring it out.

With some planning it makes meal time so much simpler. When we take time to think through our meals for the week it takes away half the stress. I like to at least think through the main part of our meals. Such as Monday we’ll have chicken with rice or we’ll have that frozen pizza we got last week. If you plan out the main parts of the meal you can decide on the veggies and other small parts last minute. This also makes you away of what you need to pull out of the freezer so you’re not running around last minute.

Simplifying lunches is also pretty similar. You can go whole hog and meal prep for the week on Sunday so you just need to grab and go. For those of us who aren’t quite that organized just deciding on what you’ll bring and prepping parts of your lunch can totally change the game. I try to prep my fruit and veggies I bring such as portioning out my baby carrots and cutting up melon.

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!


17 Places to Find Free Moving Boxes

Moving is a pain in the butt. We're still trying to figure out where we stashed everything. I feel like we're going to be playing hide and seek with our stuff for months. I wanted to make sure that we kept our moving expenses as low as possible. So finding free boxes for our move was really important to me! I realized that there are gobs of places that you can get lots of boxes and some really nice boxes for free. 

Facebook Marketplace



Liquor stores

Recycling drop off points


Friends, family & neighbors


Grocery stores

Find someone who just moved

Your own workplace

Big box stores


Other various retailers like Starbucks, clothing stores and others


You local direct sales person

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!


7 Buildings You Must See in Chicago's Loop

If there is something that Chicago does amazingly well it's architecture. We are the home of the skyscraper and amazing architects like Frank Lloyd Wright to name just a few of Chicago's architectural achievements. With great architecture there are many buildings that you need to add to your visit list it can be pretty overwhelming. I've got 7 buildings in The Loop that you should make must see if you're visiting or if you've lived in Chicago your entire life. 

Union Station

Open since 1925, Union Station remains Chicago's intercity rail terminal and the largest terminal for commuter trains. It cost $75 million dollars to build, over a billion today. The station's Great Hall is one of my favorite places in the city. It's absolutely stunning, especially after they restored it the last few years. Remember the scene from My Best Friend's Wedding when they were in the train station? That is the Great Hall.

225 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60606

Chicago Cultural Center

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
The Cultural Center started it's life in 1893 as the central Chicago library. In 1977 it was converted to an arts and culture center. It boasts the title of the nation's first free municipal cultural center and you can still enjoy everything it has to offer for that same low price of $0. From exhibits to performing arts to programs there is always something happening at the Cultural Center. The first of two stunning focal points of the Chicago Cultural Center is the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial. With it's pink marble walls, mosaic floors and stained glass dome it's a sight to behold. Only rivaled by the Preston Bradley Hall with it's white marble and 38 foot Tiffany glass dome, the largest Tiffany dome in the world.

78 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602

Monadnock Building

The Monadnock Building has the honor of being known as the tallest load-bearing brick building ever constructed along with at the time of completion being the tallest office building. The north half of the building was designed by the firm of Burnham & Root and built starting in 1891 while the south half was designed by Holabird & Roche and constructed in 1893. You'll find beautiful details inside and outside of this building from the iron stair rails to the designs in the granite outside.

53 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60604

Rookery Building

Designed by Burnham and Root in 1888 the Rookery Building is considered one of their crowning achievements. It is considered the oldest standing high-rises in Chicago. In addition to being the oldest it was a ground breaking structure with it's "floating" foundation to help steady the tall building on the swampy land that comprises Chicago. When you walk into the building you step in the awe inspiring light court with it's twisting staircase. Throughout the years there have been a number of renovations that have only enhanced the beauty instead of taking it away. The first being completed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1907 when he was tasked with renovating the interiors of the building.

209 S LaSalle St, Chicago, IL 60604

Sears Tower

Some people call this building by it's new nick name, Willis Tower but it will always be the Sears Tower. This 110-story building at the time of completion in 1973 became the tallest building in the world. It held the a title for nearly 25 years and it was the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere for 41 years, until 2014 when the new One World Trade Center topped it. It's straight lines make for pretty amazing photographs.

233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606

The Sullivan Center

Originally known as the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building. It was occupied by Carson's for more than a century!! Fun fact it's always been used for retail purposes and currently is home to Target. The building's northwest entrance with it's ornate rotund features that can be seen from both State and Madison were created with beauty that would make people want to come in and shop.

9 E Madison St, Chicago, IL 60602

The Marshall Field and Company Building

Another famous Chicago building that is for some reason known by another name but will always be Marshall Field's to Chicagoans. Since 2006 it's been the home to Macy's on State Street. This building completed in 1906 takes up an entire city block and clocks in at 13 stories with the store being 7. You'll find two iconic architectural elements. First being Marshall Field's "Great Clock" at the northwest corner of the building at State & Randolph Streets. The second is the gorgeous Louis Comfort Tiffany vaulted ceiling it is the first iridescent glass dome and is the largest glass mosaic of its kind.

111 N State St, Chicago, IL 60602

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can also join me on InstagramTwitter, and Pinterest. In addition to life-capades and doing it for yourself, I love all things 'real life' so use the hashtag #museumfanatic on social media so I can see your beautiful unstaged life. Oh and on the top of the side bar to your right, you can follow me on Bloglovin or on social media to be alerted to each new post!